Laying OO Track

Hi
I'm just starting out with this hobby and was experimenting with my first
few sections of track last night. I found that even with track in good
condition the joins caused a drastic current drop. I tried to solder
additional feeders to some sections but found that I was melting the
sleepers and not getting the solder to bond to the nickel silver track. Is
there a secret to this operation? Or an alternative to soldering?
Any info would be appreciated
Phil
Reply to
Phil Thomas
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It sounds to me like a soldering problem.
Ensure you use suitable flux for the soldering join. I use Carr's Red Label
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, and that seems to work ok for me for that kind of duty (though the Green Label is popular too). This will need to be 'painted' onto the rail with an old, small paint brush (not one that will be used for anything else again).
It's a good idea to 'tin' the feeder wire as well. This is done by dipping the bare part of the wire into the flux, then with a small amount of molten solder on the tip of the soldering iron, touch the wire to that solder, and it should flow onto the wire.
Note: Make sure you don't breath in any of the fumes. If possible, use a fan on a light setting to blow any of the fumes away from you, and always try to do such work in a well ventilated area (ie, not an enclosed room with no open windows or doors).
You shouldn't have to hold the soldering iron in place for more than half a second, and certainly make sure you position the iron so that it points down towards the rail from above, otherwise the heat from the element is likely to melt the plastic.
Once the solder has cooled to solid, test the join by gently pulling on the feeder wire. If it comes away, try again.
Once you have the finished the join, always wipe clean the join with warm water (best with a little detergent in).
Hope this helps,
Ian J.
Reply to
Ian J.
Phil,
You might want to try this method:
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It looks much neater and you'll probably find it easier.
Graham Plowman
Reply to
gppsoftware
Phil,
Just adding to what Ian has written - If you can't get your hands on the Carr's fluxes, see if you can get some Templers Telux paste flux from your local B&Q (where I got mine). It works extremely well on ferrous and non-ferrous metals and (important for trackwork) doesn't leave any harmful residues to cause eventual oxidisation.
Also a decent sized soldering iron from 25W upwards, and a screwdriver shaped bit to give a large contact area also helps. Lower wattage irons with pointed bits have to be held onto a joint for too long, and that causes damage to surrounding plastic.
Jim.
Reply to
Jim Guthrie
Another method I have seen described is to drill a small hole at an angle up from the bottom of the rail, emerging at the base of the web. Poke your wire up through the hole, apply flux and solder. Trim or file off any excess. The newly-drilled hole ensures good electrical contact.
An easier, but less reliable way is to solder feed wires to the bottom of rail joiners, bend the wires down at right angles and feed through holes in the basebaord.
Reply to
MartinS
The first is ideal for the 'Throw the track down as fast as you can and worry about the electrics as an 'after the fact'' brigade! It also contributes to the dreaded solder globule problem which in my opinion, looks an absolute mess and really careless. Solder droppers to undersides of rails _before_ laying track and you'll get a much neater finish. Undersides of fishplates is another option.
Graham Plowman
Reply to
gppsoftware
Agreed.
Not really. It depends on the sliding contact between fishplate and rail. It will sooner or later fail.
Reply to
Erik Olsen DK
"Phil Thomas" wrote in news:7 snipped-for-privacy@bt.com:
I'd echo much of what's been said already, especially Graham's suggestion to solder droppers (short lengths of wire intended to act as connectors between a part and the main feed) to the *underside* of the rail prior to laying it or alternatively on to the underside of rail joiners.
All the business about using specialist fluxes and so forth though I do think is a bit of a red herring. Bog standard multi-core electrical solder from your local Maplins/Tandy who-ever is perfectly fine.
Tin (lightly cover in solder) your wire first, make sure you have a hot iron and make sure that the metal rail is clean and bob's your uncle. Using a hot iron quickly is a much safer bet that using a slightly cool iron and soldering more slowly - much less chance of any damage to nearby sleepers.
All it needs is a little bit of practice. Not wishing to impugn anyone's skill but when my son was 7 or 8 he spent an evening with me soldering droppers on to rail joiners. If he can do it after only been shown once then anyone can - admittedly prior to this I had taken the time to show him how to solder.
Make your droppers 3 to 4 inches long - that way they'll reach through your baseboard and you'll have a little amount to play around with. Also assuming that you're using multi-strand wire don't be tempted to twist it in to one thick strand, leave it as loose strands and you'll find that it wicks the solder when you come to tin it - which in turn makes for making a really easy joint with either the rail or rail joiner.
Finally I tend to take the "overkill" approach; I solder droppers to virtually every rail joiner I use. That doesn?t mean that they all end up being wired up but it does mean that if my electrical plan alters after initial construction everything?s already in place to accommodate the changes.
Hope this helps.
Reply to
Chris Wilson
Rail joiners shouldn't be used to carry power - they're unsupported and the mechanical action of the weight of the engine causes the joint to flex and the joiner to come loose.
The result is poor electrical contact between the joiner and the rails it joins.
Reply to
Christopher A.Lee
So called "terminal joiners< ie, railjoiners with wires soldered to them.
I'll add/emphasise only two points to the the soldering advice given by other posters:
a)use a large iron - 60W or better. The smaller ones (pencil type) don't transfer the heat fast enough. b) use a heat sink on either side of the location where you will solder the feed wire. A roughly 1" square chunk of metal, or pair of pliers laid across the track will do nicely.
O'wise, make sure the rail joiners are tight. Squish 'em gently with a side cutter.
HTH
Reply to
Wolf
innews:7 snipped-for-privacy@bt.com:
I find that instead of the Carr's Red Label, Jack Daniel's Black Label, applied liberally to the solderer, works just fine.
Charles Minx Indian Valley Locomotive Works.
Reply to
video guy
"video guy" wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@q2g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:
LOL I must tell my friend Johnny Walker, it'll put a Dimple in his cheek. :-)
Reply to
Chris Wilson
messagenews:7 snipped-for-privacy@bt.com...
One of my pet hates - flux for everything. Don't get me wrong, but there is a time and place for external flux and it's not in electrical joints. If you're using a good quality cored solder (with the flux already contained within the solder), there is simply no requirement for other fluxes to be used. Most of the externally applied fluxes leave a corrosive residue that needs washing away afterwards. Multicore make a suitable range of non-corrosive cored solders. Pick one that is for suitable for "electrical use". This will be good for joing n/s, brass, copper. One of our club members uses plumbers flux to make up his handbuilt track with n/s rail and copper clad sleepers - he doesn't wash it after construction and gradually the whole thing turns green as the copper corrodes. Leaving very little chance for any paint to stick to it. And what p*sses me off more, is that he used cored solder in the first place!
The common problems are: 1. lack of heat - usually due to use of a small power rated iron (as mentioned elsewhere). This is probably the most important factor in any good soldered joint. 2. particularly with nickel-silver rail is an oxide coating on the n/ s. Use a small glass-fibre scratch brush to make sure the joint area is clean. 3. Make sure both the rail and the wire are pre-tinned - to join the two togther needs a quick touch with a suitably powered iron - I use a 50w Antex with a small tip.
I learnt to solder electrical joints with a teacher called Charlie Wright at my apprentice training school. We used to practice on Amphenol round multi-pin plugs of about 30 pins. If it wasn't right, he pulled out one of the middle wires and you had to de-solder the lot, to get at the one he'd chopped, before you could carry on. It was a steep learning process.
HTH, Mick
Reply to
newbryford
If the track is permanently laid (as mine is) and the fishplate is tightened carefully with pliers prior to use, then there will be no sliding contact to fail!
Graham Plowman
Reply to
gppsoftware
Never heard that one before! All I can say is you must have some pretty heavy locos for this to be a problem! Either that or your track must be laid on a flexible base like foam underlay with loose fishplates. In my case, track is glued to cork tiles, nice and solid, no movement on a permanent layout.
The use of fishplates as feed points is not something I do very often but it does have its place. In the 9 year lifetime of my layout which included 1 year in storage in an Sydney, Australia garage with temperatures ranging from 0c at night to 45c+ during the day, it has never been a problem - you must be doing something wrong!
Graham Plowman
Reply to
gppsoftware
Mick,
I would agree for the typical electrical joint when using components which are usually pre-tinned and reasonably clean. But I think that some fluxing is required when we get into the less than perfect situations in model railways. The flux does promote rapid penetration of the joint and the drawback with cored solder can be that you need to melt too much solder to get sufficient flux to do the job.
I did some test on fluxes a few years ago. Traditionally I had used Fluxite paste which never left a corrosive residue, but I couldn't get any replacements locally. So I worked through the fluxes on offer on the plumbing section of B&Q and found out that most of the fluxes left that hard green residue. However, I found that the Templers Telux flux I mentioned earlier leaves no corrosive residue. As a long term test, I soldered up a scratchbuilt brass underframe for a 7mm coach and have left it uncleaned of any residue. It has shown no signs of corrosion over a period or three or four years.
Most of my soldering experience was on audio installations - things like wiring double normalled B gauge jackfields. No fluxing there :-)
Jim.
Reply to
Jim Guthrie
In message , snipped-for-privacy@gppsoftware.com writes
You'd be surprised a what moves on a nice and solid permanent layout. What about expansion and contraction of the rails, for example?
My layout is in the garden, and during the year the rails suffer temperatures between -10 and 40 degrees C. I do not use fishplates for electrical connectivity, having tried it and found it unsatisfactory. I think this is because of oxidation of the rail and fishplate surfaces, which hinders connectivity.
Reply to
Jane Sullivan

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